Exclusive Interview: Jake C. Young & Kenny Scott Guffey (Night of the Undead)
Night of the Undead available at Walmart
What made you want to get involved in the film industry?
KSG: I remember being around 3 years old, and my dad was watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. I walked in only minutes before the iconic shower sequence. When it started I was mesmerized. I knew it was only a movie and something in that moment made me want to know, “how did they do that!?” My entire youth was spent wanting to be a filmmaker.
JCY: I’ve always had a big imagination… The real world was never a place I wanted to be. The older I got the more I realized I could express my imagination through acting. As time went on, directing really became my strong hold because I was telling stories through visuals.
From script–to–screen, how close did NIGHT OF THE UNDEAD come to its original vision?
KSG: The original vision of this film had many more characters in the original script, and we made the decision to adjust the script to feature less characters to allow for more emotional development. Otherwise, it was pretty faithful to the script.
What was your favorite day on set and why?
KSG: For me personally, I really enjoyed any of the sequences we shot outside of that house. Inside it was hot. It was gross. It was still pretty fun.
JCY: Ironically, we had actually began shooting almost 6 months prior to principal photography with the Karen Cooper flashback scenes. This is when Kenny Scott, and myself first became acquainted
What scene did you enjoy directing the most?
KSG: I loved all of Adam’s (Mason Johnson) scenes. He commands your attention every time he’s on the screen.
JCY: For me overall, it was nice being able to take a step back and actually focus on my directing. My last several films like, “Screature” and “Boone: The Vengeance Trail”, I was doing both acting and directing, and then followed up a few months later with the film Free To A Bad Home which was a cameo I had done for the Hale Brothers, but this film gave me a chance to really focus on storytelling and creating that dynamic, and the style of film.
What is the biggest obstacle you faced while making NIGHT OF THE UNDEAD?
KSG: We had to get very creative when actress Mckenzie Clay actually got Covid during the shoot.
JCY: Yes, we had actress Brianna Phipps to step into the character of Judy in a scene where we see Judy, but without seeing too much of her face.
What was your proudest moment during production?
KSG: Definitely a successful decapitation, pulled off with old school practical effects. That’s all Jake C. Young’s creativity there.
JCY: As Kenny Scott said, my proudest moment was watching the decapitation! Everyone on the team was against the shot. However, thanks to our DP Mike Ware Jr., and a little bit of creative thinking, we were able to take the whole thing in one shot! That sequence actually received a standing ovation in two different theater screenings!
How do you get a film to stand out in the crowd in today’s landscape?
KSG: You can’t continue to copy and to mimic the other films around you. So many filmmakers today cast the same 2 actors in each film, and never step outside of their comfort zone when filming.
JCY: What he said.
What other filmmakers inspire you to do what you do?
KSG: There’s so many; Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Mary Harron. My “Future Plans” in my high school newspaper were “To be the next Steven Spielberg.”
JCY: That’s a tough one. I’ve been inspired by so many great filmmakers in the past, and I grew up watching classics, but I’m really influenced by Mike Flanagan, who has a modern storytelling art with great suspense.
What is your favorite horror decade and why?
KSG: 70s, hands down. You had so many great classics that arrived on the scene in that decade.
JCY: Definitely the 70s and 80s, we received the golden age of films that would inspire future generations to come.
What is the next step in your filmmaking career?
KSG: For us as a team, it’s The Dark Room. For just myself, the film Isleen Pines will be coming soon, it’s a horror-comedy taking place during Halloween.
JCY: The Dark Room… This is going to be something new and different. We will be really touching on the nostalgic form of cinema!